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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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3/15/2003

Well not quite perfect

There are, of course, a few bugs in the interface between w.blogger and my css. But it still a really decent little program. You just have to get used to it.

For the Talented Ms. Alison Moore

Now there is one smart Canadian gal. Wow, who would have thought of having the World Trade Center coming out of W's trousers?

She's going to make it big. Already attracting attention and promises: this from Little Green Footballs:

Ms. Moore. RIP

"I am a staff writer for several art magazines, this twot should know that I've memorized her name, any attempt to show in NYC or other major art centers will result in extensive ridicule for the gallery that shows her and those that chose her, ie. better find something else to do loser, 'cause you're stillborn in the art world."


Aw, who needs New York....

w.Blogger is very clever



So far the program is a snap. Easy to install and run. It makes blogging more fun. Which means I expect I will be blogging more. Heaven help us all....

3/14/2003

Uh Oh

"Hundreds of people in Vietnam, Hong Kong and mainland China, many of them hospital workers, have come down with a mysterious respiratory illness that has killed at least six people and left most of the others with severe breathing difficulties from which they have not yet fully recovered, officials of the World Health Organization said yesterday."
The illness has also been reported in Canada.

Even the most sophisticated tests by leading laboratories in four countries have failed to find a cause, the officials said. Nor is the illness responding to antiviral or antibiotic drugs.


The WHO has not issued this sort of alert in ten years.

Ms. Crapper said that her agency was aware of two other cases in Canada, both in Vancouver and involving people who had also traveled recently to Hong Kong. Toronto Public Health issued an appeal on Friday night to Canadians to seek medical help if they had been in contact with Mrs. Kwan's family and were experiencing symptoms like the sudden onset of a high fever, muscle aches or other flu-like symptoms.


There does not seem to be a terrorist link but does that matter. Every so often, while people are trying to figure out how to depose other people or launch a war or what have you, something very real comes out of left field and begins to kill people. This mystery disease could be that thing. Let's hope not.

Trying out new Blogging tool



w.blogger is supposed to make blogging that much easier. So far it has. I'm going to try using it for a few days and see where it gets me...

It does have a nice spell checker which will make me sound just a tiny bit more literate.

THE EXTRA MILE

Sullivan, who I enjoy reading a lot, will do just about anything to prove the Whig theory of Bush. It is a theory which goes "Things will turn out for the best and everything which looks like a mistake now will come out well later."

"I fully understand the frustration of many with U.S. and U.K. perseverance in the Security Council. But I do think it's worth it. If, by some miracle, we get a majority and France vetoes, the impact will be huge for the worldwide legitimacy of the war and - just as importantly - for the marginalization of Paris."

In actual fact the Bush folks completely cocked up the first UN resolution and its enforcement. Trying to get unanimity they left lots of issues very vague indeed. So vague that Chirac and his ilk were practically being begged to delay.

This was just dumb. Being defeated the first time would have meant the Anglo American alliance could have struck at a time of their choosing without worrying about getting the inspectors out, the weather or Clare Short.

As it is the fallout from the war are a largely gutted United Nations, a wobbly England, a resurgent anti-war movement and a divide with France and Germany which, no matter how satisfying from the insult perspective, bodes ill for future, concerted Western action.

Bush has been ill served by his top advisers and all is not turning out in the best possible way. Saddam is still sitting in Baghdad.

3/13/2003

Even the Arab News is fed-up

"Today, it is often used to delay action to right a wrong or prevent a tragedy. The UN would not have authorized Tanzania to invade Uganda, boot out Idi Amin and break his death machine. Neither did the UN approve when the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia to get rid of the Khmer Rouge that had already killed half of that country’s population. Nor did the UN applaud American action to remove tyrants from power in Grenada and Haiti, and restore democratic government.

The former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has had the courage to admit that it was guilty of criminal negligence when it did not act to stop the genocide in Rwanda (some two million dead) or in the former Yugoslavia (half-a-million dead). More recently, the UN has turned a blind eye to the genocidal war waged by Russia in Chechnya where a whole nation is being destroyed. Each time anyone did anything to right a wrong it was outside the UN remit (as was the case in Kosovo)."

The Arab News is hardly a fire-breathing right wing bit of the media. It often opposes US interests and reflects varying shades of Saudi opinion. And it is sick and tired of the Security Council silliness being engaged in by former world powers.

"Together, the veto-holding nations account for less than a quarter of the world’s population. In most cases, however, the council is obliged to approve ambiguous, if not hermetic, texts that, far from solving the problem at hand, generate new problems. One example is the famous Resolution 242 on the Palestinian issue. Another is Resolution 1441. Its sponsors believed it authorized war. But at least four of those who voted for it believed it would prevent military action against Saddam."

Blaming France, Blair Says Passage of Iraq Resolution Unlikely

"Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the Conservative opposition, which supports Mr. Blair's hardline on Iraq, emerged from a meeting with Mr. Blair to say that the prime minister had told him a diplomatic solution was "probably less likely than at any time" and the prospects of military action "more likely."

""He made the reason for this as the fact that the French have become completely intransigent and literally threatened to veto anything that is put forward to the U.N. Security Council," the Tory leader said."

Now, who is ensuring there will be war?

All the French need to do is say "oui" to something and Saddam will know his game is up. That the French will not suggests something deeper and darker than mere Chiracian vanity.

Perhaps Safire has it right. The French do not want their sanction busting to come to light.

At some point diplomacy relies upon reason and good faith. The French, to date, have shown neither.




"He made the reason for this as the fact that the French have become completely intransigent and literally threatened to veto anything that is put forward to the U.N. Security Council," the Tory leader said.

Not all the Morons are in France

Ooops, I mean Moran...7 term Democratic congressman and, until now, unheard of Jim Moran, shows that the Islamist message is getting through:

"At a March 3 antiwar forum in Reston, Virginia, outside Washington, Moran talked about why he felt the antiwar movement was not stronger in the United States.

"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," said Moran, whose remarks were first reported by the Reston Connection newspaper. "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."

This is genius level stuff. Of course he should resign: not because he is anti-Semitic; rather because he has managed to spend 14 years in Congress and is still as thick as mud.

3/12/2003

You can't make this stuff up

"France has a "moral duty" to participate in the reconstruction of a postwar Iraq, even as it works to block a U.S.-led military strike against Saddam Hussein, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte said yesterday."

This is after Chris Patten cheerfully announces that EU participation would be problematice politically....Old, doddering, Europe.

Very last chance

Frankly, I think Blair is dreaming if a) he thinks that the French or the Russians are going to climb down on veto, b) Uncle Cuddles is ever going to do a mea culpa on public television. But if it makes Clare Short happy...

Let's Roll

"If, for Blair's sake, you must have a second resolution, why include an ultimatum that Blix will obfuscate and the French will veto? If you must have a second resolution, it should consist of a single sentence: ``The Security Council finds Iraq in violation of Resolution 1441, which demanded `full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions.'''

The resolution should be a statement not of policy but of fact. The fact is undeniable. You invite the French to cast what will be seen around the world as the most cynical veto in the history of the council, which is saying a lot. They may cast it. They are French. But then they--not you--will have to do the explaining for perpetrating such an obvious lie."

Krauthammer's willingness to force the French hand is perfect. The one person who has not done well in the diplomatic dance has been Colin Powell. Not because he is said to have suggested going the UN route, rather because he did not have the ducks lined up before going there.

The unanimity of 1441 was a hollow triumph as it failed to actually set the benchmarks and the timetable the Axis of Weasels is now withering on about. Powell ought to have know better than to accept unanimity on a resolution which lacked specific detail.

Not that it all actually matters: talk is coming to an end...

3/11/2003

Saddam v. Blair

"John Reid, the Labour chairman, described talk of moves to replace Mr Blair as the work of a few "usual suspects". They would be heavily outnumbered on the National Executive Committee which would have to approve any special conference by a majority vote. But Mr Reid confirmed that Labour dissidents were plotting against Mr Blair.

"There are a small number of people who, given the choice between getting Saddam Hussein or Tony Blair to lose their job always seem to choose Tony Blair."

From the Telegraph. The looney left in England want Blair to respect a UN veto. Which is to say they want the English and the Americans to have their foreign policy made in Paris.

The key thing now is for the assault on Baghdad to begin. Now. Before the rot can spread any further.

Short Again

"Peter Mandelson, the Blairite former cabinet minister, said: "You are bound to ask why she should suddenly discover her principles on this matter on this particular Sunday afternoon when this particular BBC interview was recorded."

Along with a re-alignment of the Middle East it is quite possible Blair's willingness to do what is right and damn the polls may transform British politics. The Labour "wets" as Mrs. Thatcher would have it, will get themselves in a dither as the AngloAmerican Alliance rolls up the Iraqis. A quick war and Blair will be a hero. All the more so if he manages to trick the French into the brainless oppositionalism which seems to constitute their current foreign policy.

Heros have long memories and Ms. Short and her ilk will be dropped and dropped hard from any post-Iraq Cabinet. The 150 or so wets may go on to form a rather soggy rump; but their day is done in British politics. If Blair can win.

3/10/2003

Go Now!?

Sometime between now and Wednesday Geo Bush and his advisers have to make a decision - do they invade Iraq now without waiting for the UN or do they hang on and see how the votes and the vetos turn out.

The limited consensus that Bush has been able to build for enforcing 1441 is unravelling. Not because Saddam has done anything very dramatic; rather because the American diplomatic performance has been dismal.

That performance has allowed the momentum to shift away from the Americans. Largely because the Americans have been willing to let the inspection charade carry on far too long.

No matter: the fact is that none of the signs are promising for the Americans to win a second resolution. Saddam will not be doing more than the drama of disarmament for the foreseeable future and the French are having far too much fun wallowing in pomp and glory to swing round.

So the alternative is to make the dash to Baghdad.

The UN, Clare Short, our own Ms. Parrish and loads of right thinking people will condemn Bush and those American bastards. They will shake their fingers, pass motions of censure and, quite possibly, have a mass nude hissy fit.

So what?

By the time the weak sisters and egomanics have recovered from their shock Saddam will be dead or holed up in a Osama sub-let. Either way, the people of Iraq will be rid of the man.

Go now....and God bless.

No Short change

"On the backbenches at Westminster there is a feeling that Ms Short is only still there because she is allowed too much slack by a leader who, in the end, is too soft-hearted."

I would think so. Bounce her to Baghdad I say, she could take the place of two or three of the heroic British activists who, when told they would be shielding actual targets promptly skadaddled.

Blair has the patience of a saint.


Olde England

""The Americans have Donald Rumsfeld, we've got Clare," said another MP. "It was just a rush of blood to the head," said a kinder colleague. "Something must have happened over the weekend. What got to her?" asked a government whip."

So, in a fight, which would you want on your side?

Chretien declares Victory

Well, thank god that's over.

I was a little worried that Uncle Cuddly in possession of WMDs might be seen as something of a setback for the UN. Fortunately,my fears were misdirected.

""You know, the President has won. I have no doubt about it, he won," Mr. Chrétien said.

"He has created a situation where Saddam cannot do anything any more. He has troops at the door and inspectors on the ground. Planes flying over and he cannot do anything."

No need for war then. Bloodless victory without a fight. Good for Mr.Bush.

The naysayers who suggest that Saddam has not actually, well, ya know, disarmed - hawks like Hans Blix for example - are just missing the geopolitical sweep Chretien has.

So long as Saddam is in "the box" with the Brits and the American getting warmer by the day in the Godforesaken desert outside Kuwait City we have nothing to fear.

Too bad Stephanopoulos didn't ask about North Korea and Iran...Could have had a three bagger.

Don't mess with Little Green Footballs

War and Its Consequences

"After a couple of years of such attention, Priest tells us, Zinni, a widely read man, concluded that "he had become a modern-day proconsul, descendant of the warrior-statesmen who ruled the Roman Empire's outlying territory, bringing order and ideals from a legalistic Rome. Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus—they would have understood. His compatriots, he knew, did not." But although he embodied American power, and was respected accordingly, in one way Zinni was not like the proconsuls who ran the world from Rome. The proconsuls were given extraordinary authority and latitude, while Zinni, on the all-important question of using power for political ends, was kept on a short leash by the Clinton White House, and could do nothing without authority from Washington."

Further to my earlier remarks regarding Generals in a democracy. General Zinni's role was intensely political; but it was subordinate to the actually elected politicians. It is a key distinction.

French Assistance for the War

"In a stunning reversal of policy, French President Jacques
Chirac announced today that the French government will be supporting the War on Terror after all. Five hundred soldiers from the elite
L'Abandonnement du Field d'Honneur Battalion (French Surrender
Battalion) of the Legion Etrangere (Foreign Legion) are in the process
of shipping out to Iraq where they will assist the elite Iraqi
Republican Guards in their inevitable surrender to the overwhelming
might of the American Armed Forces.

"Eet ees important to be haughty and insufferable when surrendering,"
said General Philippe de Peepee, the Commanding Officer of the Surrender Battalion, who has personally surrendered in over 200 battles going backto Dien Bien Phu in 1954. "We French are ze world masters at surrendering, n'est ce pas, not like you arrogant Americans who never surrender. Ha, I spit on your filthy American victories."

President Chirac also announced that his government will be sending 3000 advisors from the elite Force du Collaborateur Francaise (French Collaboration Force) to assist the Iraqis in collaborating with the Americans while pretending to be part of a non-existent resistance movement."

From a newsgroup.

The French probably have no idea just how irritated a farily large section of teh American public actually is with their "jamais, jamais" foreign policy. If you wanted to sink the UN as an important body in the world you could not do better than to follow the French prescription for really, really annoying the world's only superpower.

What clever Hans didn't say

Clare Short and our own Miss Parish will not want to accidentally trip over the contents of the secret, but widely leaked 173-page U.N. report on "Unresolved Disarmament Issues". This is the report that Blix chose not to read from at the Security Council.

- "The U.N. report increases the estimate for Hussein's presumed stockpile of anthrax, for example, from 8,500 liters to 10,000."

- "In addition, previous U.N. reports stated that Iraq had not accounted for up to 550 artillery shells and 450 aerial bombs filled with mustard gas. "However, based on a document recently received from Iraq, this quantity could be substantially higher," the report notes. Iraqi officials blame the discrepancy on faulty accounting."

- "The report details what was destroyed during and after the Gulf War, and lists what is still unaccounted for. It then proposes several hundred "actions that Iraq could take" to satisfy U.N. disarmament demands."

If this is an example of what the French, Germans and Russians - not to mention Ms. Short - think of as Iraqi compliance and the inspection regime's success I hesitate to imagine what failure would be.



Possibly the dumbest position I have ever read

Andy Reed resigned from a minor post in the Blair government. He posted this on his website...

"I agree with the view that Saddam is an evil dictator who leads an appalling regime."

"I think it is fair to say that there hasn't been a rush to war - indeed Saddam has had 12 years of prevarication and the chance to comply with the UN..."

"I have always said that the UN is the only route I could support, and I believe Tony Blair played a crucial role in Washington to prevent the hawks 'going-it-alone'."

(Contradiction...surely not..It just takes Uncle Cuddles a little longer to comply...)

"I don't doubt that ultimately the US could go alone without international support, but the last few months may have raised the importance of the UN in future world security..."

(The importance of the UN in world security, never terribly significant, will hit negative territory if and when it proves that it cannot even enforce its own resolutions.)

"The threat of military action has got us this far, and needs to remain in place, but more time needs to be given to moving to a peaceful settlement, even with limited military action if needed.

But not war in my name at this time."

A ringing declaration of idiocy. First the dimwit acknowledges that nothing would have happened without the threat of military action. Then suggests more time....say another 12 years??...and then goes so far as to say that "limited military action if needed" might be ok. And the money line...not war at this time. Or at least not in the weak Reed's name. Saddam must be relieved. Now he has the Short Reed endorsement and can get on with the business of torturing his own population, paying the families of suicide bombers and not having anything whatsoever, nothing you hear me, NOTHING, to do with the three members of Al Quaeda not currently deadish or enjoying Gitmo and other hot spots.

Poor Blair. Imagine this sort of nutter times a couple of hundred and you have the row on row of "Old Labour, Old Europe" backbenchers the poor man has to contend with.


More of the French

Walter Russell Mead writing in Foreign Affairs:

"The image of Anglophone "New Carthage" -- cruel, treacherous, barbarous, plutocratic -- that Jacobin and Napoleonic propaganda assiduously disseminated contains the essential features of anti-Anglo-Saxon portraits so familiar today. The humiliations and setbacks that France suffered at American hands in the twentieth century chafe so badly in part because they rub the old wounds that the British inflicted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The British destroyed the empires of the Bourbons and Bonaparte; the rise of the United States established a new superpower league in world politics in which France can never compete. The dog-eat-dog competition of Anglo-Saxon capitalism forces French firms to adjust, and it steadily undermines France's efforts to maintain its social status quo. The English language has replaced French in science, diplomacy, and letters; the list goes on."

"France is not the only country in Europe or the world whose ambitions were frustrated by the British and American hegemonies. France is not the only country which, left to its own devices, would embrace a kinder and gentler, if slower, form of capitalist transformation than the one that the Anglo-Saxon model imposes. France is not the only country in which intellectual and social elites dread the restructuring and decentralization that the Anglo-Saxon model brings in its train. Nor is it the only country where the state fears the loss of authority and power to Anglo-Saxon-driven globalization, with its attendant requirements of low taxes, transparency, and equal treatment for foreign investors and firms."

The poor French. Not only are they going to be sidelined in the war and diplomatically, they are also going to have to come to grips with the awful truth that Donald Rumsfeld, of all people, got it exactly right.

Short Out

With war a matter of a week away the best thing Tony Blair could do is declare Clare Short a security risk and boot her out of Cabinet.

"Asked whether Mr Blair had acted recklessly, she said: "I'm afraid that I think the whole atmosphere of the current situation is deeply reckless: reckless for the world; reckless for the undermining of the UN in this disorderly world ... reckless with our Government; reckless with his own future, position and place in history. It's extraordinarily reckless, I'm very surprised by it."

She added: "Allowing the world to be so bitterly divided, the division in Europe, the sense of anger and injustice in the Middle East is very, very dangerous. We're undermining the UN, it's a recruiting sergeant for terrorism, there's a risk of a divided world, with a weakened UN."

Ministers of the Crown are not permitted to threaten resignation or to take issue with the policy of the Cabinet in which they serve. If Short wants to call Blair "reckless" she should do so from the backbench.

I am hoping Blair has the determination needed to toss this harpy from the Cabinet so hard the bounce is heard in Brussels.

_____

(Good old Chris Patten: always ready to lend a hand.

"In an interview with The Independent, Mr Patten said it would be politically impossible for the EU to make money available to rebuild Iraq, given the divisions that have emerged over how to disarm Saddam Hussein. ")

3/09/2003

Talking Turkey

Of course you could write all I know about Turkish politics on the head of a very small pin. Colby's minor problemos cut to the heart of the ambiguous health of the Sick Man of Europe.

General Ozkok, in this particular instance, made the sort of noises you want generals to make in democracies. How long that will last is a realistic question.

Colby's further point,

"Now, me, I've never considered democracy to be an axiom or an end in itself. As a practical matter it may be the best way to run an established, morally homogenous polity; but I'll give up the right to vote in a quarter-trice if the alternative is to give up my right to listen to music on the radio, play chess, or fly a kite. If it takes an army to protect my most basic liberties, I'm comfortable with that, irrespective of what the rabble thinks."

is, I think, more interesting. The danger inherent in democracy is that the know nothings - however defined - will use their ballots to elect, well, Stockwell Day. This would, from a libertarian and a small L liberal perspective, be disaster. But it would also be democratic.

The essential balance between the secularists in the Turkish Army and the political Islamists in Parliament is repeated in American and Canadian politics - anywhere that the Christian Right wants to hijack some or all of the political agenda.

The issue is not democracy: fundamentalists are far more able to seize control of states in which there is not the balance provided by regular elections. Rather, the issue is the desire of the zealous to create theocratic states by whatever means are at hand.

Democracies have a way of tempering the sorts of excess that a Day or an Ashcroft represent. They can consign socialist parties to the dustheap of history - despite the elitist media's idolization of Judy and Avi and Naomi and Audrey and Sven. They can, if they make a really dreadful mistake, change their minds come next election.

Colonels, generals and other ranks march to rather different drummers than the political world should hear. Popular opinion cannot matter to a soldier, it must matter to politicans and, for statesmen, it is the background against which tough decisions are made.

Blair is defying the wussy public opinion of the English masses and the Hampstead Hitlers who lead them. For one of the most astute politicians in the world this must really hurt. It suggests to me that he knows something so nasty that he has no choice but to behave as a statesman and allow the wolves their due. It may well cost him his career. In a democracy that is the risk a great Prime Minister has to take.

___________

(Of course, a short run bonus is it may also free Blair from having to listen to Clare Short's braying.(I wonder if that is the secret agenda behind our own Cabinet's meanderings on the subject -"Get Sheila to resign...hmmmm.))

Goodbye Clare

"I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the UN and I will resign from the government," International Development Secretary Clare Short said.

"I think it's time for cards on the table.

"I think I owe it to my colleagues in the Government and members of the Labour Party to just be truthful about my position.

"It's the time to say what my intentions are," she said."

I suspect Blair is breathing a huge sigh of relief...

Ms. Short is the very worst sort of left wing anti-American who would rather see Saddam home and dry than agree with George Bush. She is exactly the sort of woman who opposes war on an absolute basis and needs the "cover" that the UN would give an attack on Saddam....Anything but supporting those American bastards to paraphrase a famous and equally irritating Canadian.

Blair will be far better off without her and she, without the perks of Ministerial Office, will sink into richly deserved oblivion in the Labour backbench...Remember, if Iraq turns into a truimph Blair will be Prime Minster long after Ms. Short has failed to be renominated for her seat. Blair will certainly be taking names.

No Straw Man

"The passion of his argument over the impact of the military threat as opposed to diplomatic pressure appeared to put Mr Straw off his stride. "Dominique, with respect to you, my good friend, I think it's the other way round. I really do.

"The strong outside pressure is, and let's be blunt about this, the presence of over 200,000 US and UK young men and young women willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of this body the United Nations."

Mr Straw continued: "There is only one possible, sensible conclusion that we can draw. We have to increase the pressure on Saddam Hussein. We have to put this man to the test.

"The Iraqis have the answer already - it may take time to fabricate further falsehoods, but the truth takes only seconds to tell."

Well said, jack Straw...note to Our Lady Peace and the PM: it would not be a bad idea to see whether you can line up with the winners on the Iraq war...You have about five days...